All 800 8 SA Infantry Battalion members deployed to Sudan are currently at the main UNAMID base El-Fasher awaiting airlift home.
The South African troops were withdrawn from operational bases two weeks ago and these positions have now been taken over by Pakistani and Sudanese elements to ensure continuity in peace support operations in the Darfur region of Sudan.
All parties involved in the hybrid AU/UN mission as well as the Sudanese authorities were timeously informed of South Africa’s withdrawal from the mission and this flow of information is still ongoing as regards airlift, being handled by the UN, and the eventual return to South Africa of all SANDF materiel and equipment in Sudan.
“A South African closing down team will be in the mission area as from this Saturday (April 16) to start fine tuning arrangements for the return of equipment,” a reliable source told defenceWeb.
“The team will ensure all South African National Defence Force equipment, with the exception of soldiers’ personal equipment and weapons, is properly accounted for and loaded ahead of transport by the port of Sudan where it will become ship’s cargo for transit to a South African port.”
Apart from Mambas, used for convoy escort duties and general personnel ferrying duties, the South African contingent to Sudan will also see forklift trucks, tipper trucks, graders and other specialist vehicles coming back to South Africa firstly aboard lowbed trailers and then by ship.
All arrangements to date with the withdrawal from Sudan are going according to plan and involve the SANDF, AU and UN personnel on the ground as well as in South African, Ethiopia and at UN headquarters in New York.
The source could not say exactly when the UN chartered airlift of South African troops would commence. “That is in their hands and the necessary information will be imparted to the senior South African officers on the ground in good time to make final preparations for departure.”